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What will happen to the sales rep?

In the near future sales of configured products will move online – just like all B2B/B2C/C2C for non-configurable products.

We've already seen this for the last years with industries like automotive, moving from just showcasing to actual ordering online. The digital experience still needs to demonstrate the products, but the sales rep is no longer a gatekeeper. Dealers are slowly but surely replaced by showrooms. The customer expects to generate the offer by themselves – online.

What will this mean to your sales force?

Traditional sales acumen will still be a success factor, but new skills like connecting using ever evolving digital tools will also play an important part. New skills like connecting socially will be an important part, both for the sales reps and the online tools.

Some methods used today will need to be “unlearned”, they simply don’t work when it comes to digital sales.

This will inevitably decrease the workload for each sales reps. As customer do much of the work themselves each order will require less from the sales rep. In an expanding organization this is a non-issue, for others it will mean that customer facing roles will need to change.

It’s likely the “cost-of-sales” will be lower. It’s also likely that the “cost-of-sales” will remain the same, just resulting in  new roles serving the customers. This means that the skillset for someone working in sales will evolve quite drastically during the transition to digital.

Today we use the rules of thumb that a sales rep is accountable for sales of 1-2 million €/$. In a few years it’s likely we will see this figure increased by at least 50 %. With the customer doing an important part of sales the responsibility for the sales reps will typically increase to 2-3 million.

Is your sales department ready to be digital or should you leave that giant leap to your competitors?



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